Following a run at the National Theatre back in 2019, Helen Edmundson’s brilliant adaptation of Small Island now returns to London at the Olivier Theatre for a limited season.
Small Island is based on the 2004 novel by Andrea Levy of the same name and dramatises the lives of a group of people linked with the Jamaican diaspora in Britain in the 1940's, during World War II and beyond. Following the end of the war, 1948 was an important year in the history of British Jamaican's as HMT Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury. This fascinating play explores the start of the Windrush generation and the tangled and intertwined histories of the UK and Jamaica.
Hortense is a prim woman who has dreams of becoming a teacher in England, but looks at everything with a very rose-tinted, English gaze. Her husband Gilbert holds a much more laid back approach to living in Europe, but sometimes feels pressured to behave in a certain way by his wife.
The couple then meet Queenie and Bernard, who have a very similar dynamic. Queenie Bligh was named after both Queen Victoria and "Blighty", an archaic term that describes soldiers' wounds. Her husband, Bernard, sometimes acts in ways which would be considered racist in the 21st century. This three-hour play intricately documents their thoughts and lives and illuminates the impact of being a Jamaican in Britain in the 1940's.
Seating PlanOlivier Theatre, National Seating Plan
AddressSouth Bank, London, SE1 9PX
Waterloo & City, Bakerloo, Northern, Jubilee
Directions from nearest tube
(10mins) Follow signs for exits to the South Bank. This should lead you to an underground pedestrian passage called ‘Sutton Walk’ that emerges at the South Bank. Turn right and walk along the river Thames until you see the National Theatre.
(Waterloo Road) 1, 4, 26, 59, 68, 76, 139, 168, 171, 172, 176, 188, 243, 341, 521, RV1, X68
Night Bus Numbers
(Waterloo Road) 139, 176, 188, 243, 341, N1, N68, N76, N171, N343
National Theatre, Upper Ground (1min)
Within Congestion Zone